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Frequent telephone calls...

Miss A

Registered User
Oct 26, 2012
61
The South West
Has anybody reading this had any experience with their loved ones calling then numerous times per day?

My Dad calls my house on average 12 times per day. He lives on his own. It starts at 8.30am. Often to ask things like 'what time is it', 'what day is it', 'my tablets haven't been dispensed from my machine yet' (even though he is an hour early), 'my tv won't work'. I could go on...

When he calls it seems that he is seeking approval all the time. For example he calls when his meals on wheels arrives and then calls again when he's eaten it 15 minutes later. Just to let somebody know he has eaten it. I work full time so it is my 82 year old Nan (who I live with) who is answering these calls. She has her own aliments and receiving confusing calls is causing stress and anxiety all round.

Any advice on how to prevent this/what to do would be appreciated. Is this something which you just have to put up with? A social worker has advised to ignore the calls sometimes?!! Thoughts?

I don't want to shut him out, it would just be nice to be called less. How can I comfort him?? Before when he can't get hold of me or my Nan he calls my neighbour.

Thanks xx
 

Ladybird23

Registered User
Feb 28, 2014
127
So sorry to hear this Miss A.

My sister had to put up with phone calls all the time before dad got worse. As she lived just up the road my sister would pop round and deal with the situation. It must have driven her mad, she just soldiered on, and never moaned. I was so blind, ignorant to it all until my sister phoned me and gave me some S**t*. A big wake up call., and I was there for her when she needed me. Then when Dad fell that put the wheels in motion and he is now in a CH.

I have no idea on what you can do, even telling your Dad to stop and think does he really need to phone you might not work. There will be someone along soon who has more of an idea than me.

All the very best.
 

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
8,035
My Dad calls my house on average 12 times per day. He lives on his own.
Hi Miss A

I know how difficult this can be but just want to ask for those that don't live alone how many times a day they speak to someone who lives with them - for a social chat, to pass a remark, to share an opinion, to ask for advice, to confirm that you have done something the right way, to ask someone if they remember XYZ because you are unable to. Even if you are home alone during the day you know a loved one will be in later to discuss the things you have thought about during the day.

Then imagine being totally disorientated in time and place, constantly, but knowing that your family worry about you looking after yourself, if you have eaten amongst other things. Being unable to get out and noone to 'ground' you in any other reality than your own confused mind and surroundings and having lost initiative to do some of the things you were once able to. Family are the only ones you 'remember' as they are hopefully the ones that still care as friends have mostly disappeared but you have no concept of the reality of their lives anymore.

SW's that say ignore the calls I disagree with and memory clinics that say don't go too often I also disagree with. Both of these attitudes to me have no understanding of the reality of what it is like to be the person living with dementia. Instead strategies have to be found that work for the carer and the cared for, hence your post. Can you change the pattern by calling him in when you get in and ask what he had for lunch?? I find with my friend, this actually has got her 'exercising her brain' as some days she is able to remember and tells me on the days she can't I just say never mind as long as you're not hungry, that way I also get to find out how much she is eating as she will often say I'm not hungry but I can suggest she has a piece of fruit as she may have forgotten to eat. She also knows I will call. I have my own symptoms (early stages)and hate the thought of bothering friends or families the realities of whose lives I now struggle to comprehend, but I know they are busy - I once was. I say to some you ring me as you know when you are free and it works OK and they still keep me included in their lives.

Does your Dad have a befriender or any daycare at all? It may just be simple human contact that he needs. Eating is a social event and maybe a lunch club may help?

Sorry if this is not appropriate to your situation.
Best wishes
Sue
 

ellejay

Registered User
Jan 28, 2011
4,019
Essex
I'm afraid phone calls were a real issue with us. When mum lived alone she had carers 3xday, meals on wheels, family visits 4 full days a week & "pop ins" for other times.

She refused day care & a befriender.

Mum had a phone with the 3 main family members programmed in, so even when she forgot how to dial a number she could phone one of us. We each got 30 + calls, day & night. If we were out, the answerphone would be full when we returned.

I know mum felt lonely...... when we left after visiting, mum would be phoning & leaving messages before we'd even left the end of her road.........."When would we visit, she hadn't seen anyone for days "etc.

Sometimes at night in desperation, I would bury the phone in the laundry basket, just so I could sleep.

We never found an answer & it only stopped when mum went to live in a care home I'm afraid.

Lin x
 

JayGun

Registered User
Jun 24, 2013
291
Have you got an answering machine? My MIL is just as happy to tel the answering g machine done if the time, other than that, I would tell your Nan not to worry about the phone, just let the machine get it, and call your dad more at set times. My MIL needs a lot of reassurance and praise and "course correction", but it helps her to know that people will be phoning and people will be round. She doesn't have to worry about calling me for everything that happens because she knows that I call her and she can tell me then. Sometimes she moans that I'm always ringing her! But because she knows that she knows she doesn't have to constantly ring me when I'm not with her. Do you see what I mean. I think that's how it works anyway. ;)
 

Nick99

Registered User
Apr 30, 2013
84
Lincolnshire
Yes, I'm afraid its all too common.
We had lots and lots of phone calls and just like yours it was "what day is it?" what time is it?" "my TV won't work."

It started to get into a pattern when we knew what time he would p[hone and exactly what the call would be about. We even had calls about 8pm to tell us he was going to bed, did we have a key in case we wanted to pop round, although we live 150 miles away.

To be honest after years of this we decided that after the first call of the day we would not answer, as we have a phone that tells you who is calling. We knew that the carers would contact us if there was a serious problem. Then about six months ago the calls suddenly stopped or reduced considerably. I posted on this site about this asking if I should be concerned.

I'm afraid that you need to be hard and find a way of not answering, not easy I l know.
 

Maldives13

Registered User
Feb 4, 2014
164
I'm with you jaygun. I phone my mum a lot - probably too much some might say. However it means she would only ring me in a real emergency. I like to chat to her anyway so I guess it's ok . I'm lucky that I live near as well so do spend a lot of time with my mum
 

Miss A

Registered User
Oct 26, 2012
61
The South West
Thank you all for taking the time to reply to me post. I have found every reply helpful and insightful.

Sue J - I totally understand your points about how Dad could just simply want human contact, like most of us. I think this is very relevant to Dad and his situation. Generally I am his only visitor and believe me I worry about him all the time. I wish I could spend more time with him. I was interested to hear your point of view, I felt when reading your post that my Dad could easily be saying the same thing! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I just feel so sad that I can't take this confusion away from him, it kills me sometimes because I'm feel useless.

Sue J and ElleJay - you both mentioned a 'befriender'. Excuse my ignorance but what do you mean by this? Is this like a carer? No Dad does not have this, I am his only carer.
How do you go about having a befriended, is this something offered by social services etc?

I do have an answer phone, just the 1571 service. I also have called ID so know when it's dad calling. I fell very uncomgortable ignoring him, I don't think I can to it. But maybe on occasions when he calls in minute intervals I can try the tactic you guys suggested.

One thing I have picked up on from your posts is to tell Dad that I am going to call him. I honk maybe I don't tell him this enough and it may cause him to feel more vulnerable and alone.

Thank you all, I hate this disease I just want my Dad back :(

Xxx
 

Maldives13

Registered User
Feb 4, 2014
164
Hi miss a. I am sure someone else will answer but a befriender is a volunteer who will visit once a week or once a fortnight and spend time talking to your Dad. I think if you contact the Alzheimer's society they will try and match a befriender to your Dad. There is a waiting list in some areas. I feel exactly the same about my Mum - I couldn't not answer the phone. Good advice you have been given from sue - about him knowing you will ring. It depends on your circumstances and how often you can ring him, but perhaps if you rang at the same times each day he would get used to that. I'm lucky in that I'm not working so can ring Mum several times a day and I'm able to visit at least 3 times a week. Good luck it is a difficult illness
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
All you can usually do, I'm afraid, is to ignore the calls for at least part of the day, or leave the phone off the hook, or turn the ringer off, or whatever. Usually in this sort of case the person will not remember any instructions, and will not be able to remember that they phoned only five or ten minutes, or half an hour ago. So reasoning with them, or asking them not to phone so often will usually be pointless.
At one point my mother was ringing my poor brother up to thirty times in ONE HOUR, but she had no idea she was ringing so often because by then her short term memory was almost non existent.

If someone has you on speed dial, then changing that number to a mobile that you keep switched off except at certain times may help. It is always very difficult and of course the worry is that for once, when you are not answering, it may be an emergency. But sadly this sort of thing can and does drive relatives to distraction.
 

Bill11651

New member
Jun 29, 2020
6
I'm afraid phone calls were a real issue with us. When mum lived alone she had carers 3xday, meals on wheels, family visits 4 full days a week & "pop ins" for other times.

She refused day care & a befriender.

Mum had a phone with the 3 main family members programmed in, so even when she forgot how to dial a number she could phone one of us. We each got 30 + calls, day & night. If we were out, the answerphone would be full when we returned.

I know mum felt lonely...... when we left after visiting, mum would be phoning & leaving messages before we'd even left the end of her road.........."When would we visit, she hadn't seen anyone for days "etc.

Sometimes at night in desperation, I would bury the phone in the laundry basket, just so I could sleep.

We never found an answer & it only stopped when mum went to live in a care home I'm afraid.

Lin x
Sounds like our situation mum calls 30+ times day and night asking the same questions over and over again. She made 234 calls to dads care home in one night that resulted in a huge Bill and changing her package and registering her with Alzheimers with BT. We answer one call morning and at night the rest go to voicemail that we monitor. Shes now on night sedation so the 3am & 3am calls have now stopped. Mum is still at home and resists any form of help but the CPN has been great in helping her and us out with strategies for dealing with her. BT have a range of things they can do it's a matter of talking with them to see what best helps. But so related to your post.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,258
Yorkshire
helllo @Bill11651
a warm welcome to DTP
good to hear that you are getting help from the CPN

just to let you know that this thread is from 2014 ... some issues don't change, though members from that time may not have visited the site since then

you can check the date of each post ... it's top left in the text box

I see you have also started your own thread
 

Bill11651

New member
Jun 29, 2020
6
Has anybody reading this had any experience with their loved ones calling then numerous times per day?

My Dad calls my house on average 12 times per day. He lives on his own. It starts at 8.30am. Often to ask things like 'what time is it', 'what day is it', 'my tablets haven't been dispensed from my machine yet' (even though he is an hour early), 'my tv won't work'. I could go on...

When he calls it seems that he is seeking approval all the time. For example he calls when his meals on wheels arrives and then calls again when he's eaten it 15 minutes later. Just to let somebody know he has eaten it. I work full time so it is my 82 year old Nan (who I live with) who is answering these calls. She has her own aliments and receiving confusing calls is causing stress and anxiety all round.

Any advice on how to prevent this/what to do would be appreciated. Is this something which you just have to put up with? A social worker has advised to ignore the calls sometimes?!! Thoughts?

I don't want to shut him out, it would just be nice to be called less. How can I comfort him?? Before when he can't get hold of me or my Nan he calls my neighbour.

Thanks xx
Hi we can relate to this as mum is mid stage Alzheimers and calls us average 20+ times a day. Did start at 630am and would go on toll 2am the following morning.
Its were us down so the CPN suggested answer one call morning and one call evening and let voice mail take the rest but monitor them. That helped however the phone rang into the wee small hours and she clearly wasnt sleeping so she was prescribed night sedation which stopped that happening and calls dont start till 9am now and the latest 9PM.
 

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